Showing posts with label spiritual healing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spiritual healing. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Lies they told you about PTSD


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 2, 2022

Get over it! It's all in your head! You're mentally weak! No one wants to hear about it! You should be ashamed of yourself if you let it get to you! It's time to move on! Don't be such a baby! You can't have PTSD because you're not a veteran! 

How many times have you heard a boat load of crap after you survived something that could have killed you, coming out of the mouths of people when their worst problem is someone got their order wrong at McDonald's? Don't expect them to understand and don't expect the media to tell you the truth. It's gotten to the point where I'm impressed when a report actually covers #PTSD in non-veterans. That's pretty sad.

As a fellow survivor, researcher, and advocate, I've heard all the stuff for four decades and I'm sick and tired of it because it keeps getting repeated. What doesn't get repeated often enough is the truth. The only way to get the truth into the minds of those needing to hear it is to expose the lies.

Let's start with the biggest lie of all. 

You can't have PTSD because you're not a veteran! 

The truth is, the rest of us know that surviving traumatic events produces residual effects because Vietnam veterans returned from combat and forced the government to research it and add it to the disabilities they compensate for. It never goes away but because of research, we know that it does not have to retain power over the rest of our lives as survivors.

Other jobs cause PTSD because of traumatic events piling onto what the jobs caused while living as a citizen. Civilians get PTSD from every traumatic event responders respond to but the responders cannot see that fact.

What are the jobs other than combat? Law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, non-deployed members of the National Guards and Reservists, doctors, nurses, members of the clergy, and yes even reporters

The truth is, no matter what caused it, survivors of trauma can end up in the PTSD club no one wants to join, even from just one event. It isn't how many events we escape. It is the one that caused the demon of PTSD to penetrate.

Non-survivors don't get it, because the only way to enter into the world of PTSD is as a survivor. When they tell you what they think, it is based on their usual lives. Survivors live with the unusualness of seeing their sense of life as they knew it becomes a foreign land of unknowns.

They want to "fix" you by saying what they think you need to hear about what they think you need to do. They don't know common sense no longer applies because what you're living with, what hitched a ride in your life, is far from common.

When you hear there is no cure for PTSD, which is true, if you settle for that, then there is no hope of a better life. Yet, when they tell you you do have power over the rest of your life, that clues you in on the simple, basic facts, that life can become a lot better and happier than it is at your worst moments.

Common sense then becomes empowerment because you are aware of all the treatments, therapies, and support groups that came into existence did so because more people were not willing to settle for suffering as survivors instead of enjoying as such. When you realize the power within you began after your power was taken away by the event or the people that caused you harm, were defeated, you feel like a survivor. No apology is ever warranted because you lived through something others did not.

When I started writing The Lost Son Alive Again series, I was angered by what I was reading being passed off as something worth reading. I kept wondering where were the facts. Where were reports that managed to inspire empowerment? So I wrote them in the lives of the characters' real survivors inspired.

Last night while working on the third part of the series, I wrote about one of the main characters. Her name is Grace and she survived the Pulse massacre, not as an attendee, but as a police officer responding to it. She was healed enough to live a productive life as a retired officer, turned Chaplain, and leader of a group dedicated to helping others heal.

She was being haunted by her memories and something that was trapped within them and talking to a therapist, who was also her friend.


Grace was on the Zoom call with Dariana. She was wiping her eyes, “But I don’t understand. I thought when you read the records from my other therapist, I wouldn’t have to talk about all of it again.”

“That’s right but this is something she never got you to talk about. If you’re willing, we may be able to figure out what still has a hold on your mind. Are you willing?”

“Yes. I know I have to.”

“Do you want to?”

“No. I don’t want to go through this but I know it’s the only way of putting the past in the past.”

“Ok. Close your eyes or get up and walk around so that I can hear you. You don’t have to be looking at me if you get uncomfortable.”

“Ok. I’ll start and then go with what takes some pressure off. I forgot about where we left off the night of the blizzard.”

“You’re Mom heard gunshots, called the police, and told you to put your snowsuit on. What happened after that?”

“She got her coat and boots on, got the flashlight, and was looking for a key. She was frantically searching for it and found it. It must have been to our neighbor’s house. She picked me up and put me on her back because the snow was too deep. She tripped a couple of times but made it up the stairs. She knocked and called out Sarah but no one answered the door. She used the key, opened the door, and told me to sit on the floor facing the door and she didn’t want me to move. Right after that, the power came back on.”

“Did you listen to her or did you follow her?”

“I listened to her until she called me to go to her.” She started to cry, got up, and walked around.

“Where was she?”

“She was in the kitchen on the floor with Kevin.” Grace stopped walking, “Oh my God! Sarah was dead! I had to walk by her! There was blood all over the floor and I slipped.” Grace put her arms around her waist and hunched her back. 

Dariana waited, watching Grace, giving her time, and then called out her name. "Grace. What did you see?”

“My Mom was down on the floor with Kevin. She was trying to help him. She needed to call the police again but she had to stay with him. She told me to get the phone as close to her as I could and call them for her. She shouted at them and told them that if they didn’t get there soon Kevin was going to die.”

“Did they come?”

“After a while, yes. They had to park way down the next street because our street hadn’t been plowed yet. Kevin looked at one of the officers and said his Mom shot him. And then, he died.”

“What happened after that?”

“They did what they could. Two other officers came and took over. They walked me and my Mom back to our house. One of them carried me.”

“Do you remember anything else?”

“No.”

“Ok, you said you didn’t have your boots on. What was on your feet?”

“I don’t know. I had on heavy socks because it was so cold in the house. Why?”

“Grace, what did you look at when the officer was carrying you out the door?”

“Nothing.”

Dariana let her think about it. “Are you sure? You didn’t see anything in their house? Did you see Sarah?”

“Oh my God! Yes. And then I saw my bloody footprints!”

“Ok. Let’s get you back in your house. What happened after that?”

“My Mom had me up on the counter, took off my socks, and threw them away. She washed my feet and told me to forget all about what I saw that night.”

“Did your Dad come home soon after that?”

“The next day. He was yelling at my Mom. I never heard him yell at her before. She told him that he knew what she was like when they got married and as a nurse, she had to do something or wouldn’t be able to forgive herself for not trying. He understood and hugged her afterward.”

“What about Kevin’s Dad?”

“He moved out a couple of days later and never came back. My parents never talked about it after that.”

“And now you found the key. That was all still buried in your mind. When Pulse happened, I remember you said that there was so much blood, your boots were soaked and even your socks were covered with blood. That’s a lot to take without ever having therapy or being able to talk to someone about any of it. I’m amazed you were as together as you were all that time.”

“So this is why it all came back? You’re right. I never really got past any of it because of how it all started. I guess seeing Chris shot and blood on my shoes was more than I could take.”

“Yes and now you can take power away from it. Back when it happened, most people didn’t know what traumatic events like that did, especially to little children. Did your Mom change at all after that?”

“Once in a while, I’d see her looking out the window at their house and she cried a little. Mostly when it snowed. I heard her talking to my Dad and she said something about everything she saw as a nurse in the Air Force, that was the hardest one of all to get through.”

“How long did you live there after that?”

“My Dad got transferred to Florida the next year and we moved there. He said it never snowed in Florida and we could have a fresh start.”

“How did you end up in Salem and meeting Chris?”

“He was a Colonel by then and was back at Hanscom. When he retired he had a great job in Boston and we didn’t have to move anymore. That was when I met Chris and he cared so much about me that I found my best friend and my first love.”

“And the rest I know. I also know that if you got through all that, on top of when you were taking care of Pam and Rose, you are a very strong woman and have a very rare soul. It also proves that you know when to ask for help when you need it and you’ll be a lot happier now without all that weighing on your memories.”

“You know, I think you’re right. It all fits now. Thank you!” She laughed. “You know, when Chris said you were a genius at getting people to remember what they didn’t want to, he was right. You are.”

“That’s my job, plus I know a little bit about how you were feeling. I was the one that found my Dad after he committed suicide. I was older, but still, I was only sixteen. My Mom and he separated and I went to clean his apartment for him. He had been dead for two days and it always haunted me that he would choose death over talking to someone. I have to keep reminding myself that back then, no one was talking about what they were going through because they couldn’t understand it either.”

“So now you give them a safe place to talk and can read them enough to know what they’re trying to hide.”

“It’s not so much what you or they are trying to hide, it is more a matter of something that is hiding in their memories and trying to get out. Are you ok now or do you want to talk some more?”

“I’m ok and thank you.”

“You’re welcome and we should still catch up tomorrow a the same time and then you can decide if you need me more or not.”

“That’ll be good. Thank you so much! Have a good night.”


And that's how the main character healed. He was a reporter, yet veterans helped him heal. He had a wonderful childhood with loving parents, yet survivors of child abuse helped him heal. He was a survivor of domestic abuse and violence as a husband inflicted by his first wife, yet a woman that survived what her husband did to her, helped him heal. He was not gay, but a gay female ex-wrestler helped him learn how to fight to take back power over his life. He was not a police officer, but one helped him heal and opened his heart again. He walked away from God, yet an ex-priest helped him heal and find God again.

None of them knew what it was like to be Chris, but they all understood what surviving did to him as much as they knew what he needed to heal his life.

I didn't serve yet worked with veterans and their families because I understood what it did to them. One day, I had a veteran challenge me saying I didn't know what I was talking about because I wasn't a veteran.  He turned it into a contest. So, I listed everything I survived. I asked him if he survived any of them. He said he didn't. Then I asked him if he could understand what all that did to me. He said he did. That got him to open his eyes to the simple fact that survivors may not have lived through the same event, but we are all living with the results of surviving. The cool thing is, that most of us are more than willing to share the recovery so others can pass it on too!

Friday, July 8, 2022

How did they force their beliefs on the rest of us and get away with it?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 8, 2022 

I am tired of hearing nonsense about #PTSD. I am tired of people thinking it only hits veterans. Tired of the media jumping up and down, putting one group over all others. Above all, I am tired of trying to offer hope of spiritual healing when all folks hear is how hateful Christians are. After all, they're the only ones getting the attention. Over the years I tried to explain a lot of things. So why am I trying to explain pro-choice? Because there is a whole lot of other stories out there and today, I have one about religious leaders supporting the facts that there are non-hateful Christians out there and there are plenty of us!

I am also tired of hateful people claiming to represent Jesus as a "Christian" yet have no connection to what He actually taught!

Here are just a few of them so that you won't be so offended when you hear "Christian" because we don't all believe what some do and then pretend they speak for all of us!

BTW There are more than 45,000 denominations globally. because we don't all believe the same!

Followers of Jesus span the globe. But the global body of more than 2 billion Christians is separated into thousands of denominations. Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Apostolic, Methodist — the list goes on. Estimations show there are more than 200 Christian denominations in the U.S. and a staggering 45,000 globally, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. So why does Christianity have so many branches?

A cursory look shows that differences in belief, power grabs and corruption all had a part to play.

But on some level, differentiation and variety have been markers of Christianity since the very beginning, according to Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor emeritus of church history at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. "There's never been a united Christianity," he told Live Science. discover more here

But here in America, there are many different faiths and many more with no connection to organized religion of any kind. So how is it that a fraction of people in this country managed to enforce their beliefs on the rest of us, and get away with it? 


Brandan Robertson, a 29-year-old from Washington, D.C., is not the kind of advocate most people picture when they think of the pro-choice movement.

But on Tuesday evening, after the leak of a draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade, he donned his blue clergy collar, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other protesters outside the Supreme Court building.

Robertson, an author, activist, and lead pastor of “digital progressive faith community” Metanoia Church, hadn’t always been the type to attend such events. Throughout his teens and early twenties, he was heavily involved with the conservative evangelical scene and self-identified as an anti-gay, anti-abortion fundamentalist. find even more non-hateful Christian leaders here
MIC
“What we profess and what we live don't always add up,” Blackmon, now a nurse and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC), says. “You don't know where you really stand until it’s personal.” Blackmon doesn’t believe she should have to tell her personal abortion story. But today, with abortion rights in the U.S. hanging by a thread, she’s telling it for the first time.

With many evangelicals celebrating the end of Roe v. Wade — and Catholic bishops even denying Communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her support of abortion rights — it’s easy to believe Christianity is inherently anti-abortion.

But Blackmon, an abortion rights advocate who serves as the UCC’s Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries, says it’s critical to disentangle these ideas. In fact, her own denomination has been involved in abortion rights advocacy for decades; before the 1973 Supreme Court ruling recognized the right to abortion, UCC ministers were part of a clergy network connecting women to doctors willing to provide abortions based on their own understandings of Christianity. “I think the laziness of some Christianity has caused people with louder voices and more political presence to be able to draw a narrative that other Christian voices have to speak out against, so that people can think about this,” she says. read more of what she has to say here

If you don't think all this extra stress put on females and their families won't cause PTSD, then you are not thinking at all! 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The loudest voices do not speak for the rest of us!

Kathie Costos
June 25, 2022


I woke up this morning in a country I no longer recognize. Every time I heard a pro-birth person say they "believe" life begins at conception, all I could think about was when others believed they were the only Godly people in Salem. Everyone else, not believing or acting like they decided they should, was subjected to accusations, imprisonment, trials, and often, death.

Today on PTSD Patrol I posted SCOTUS: Salem Witch Craft Trials 2.0 It was because the ruling from the Supreme Court eliminating the rights of females to decide what they choose is right for them, was so vital, that the right to choose was the first sentence of the 1st Amendment to the Consitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

In other words, even back then, people were supposed to have the freedom to make their own choices. While this was written, women had very little choice over much at all. SCOTUS ruled against the 1st Amendment by the ruling based on religious reasons and not medical ones. 

The pro-birth movement kept screaming that life began at conception but the Bible does not agree with that. There is a lot that some people believe, but that is their choice. The problem came when they wanted to enforce their rights while making everyone else surrender their own rights.

That is what happened during the Witch Craft Trials. Pilgrims came here for various reasons but one of them was religious freedom. They turned around in the next generation and used it against 200 people and putting 20 of them to death.

You can read more on the link to the post but it was because of this, that I wanted to make sure people knew, this was one of the reasons why I felt it was necessary to write The Lost Son Alive Again and Stranger Angels Among Us. I had to rewrite them because the loudest voices in this country are pushing people away from God.

Over 90% of the people I helped during the last 40 years, said they believed in God, and most believed in Jesus, but none of them attended church. I had to reassure them that Jesus didn't attend a church building either. As a matter of fact, He wasn't free to preach in a Temple either. He prayed and preached outside most of the time. Then I had to reassure them that they could reach God all on their own with a direct line of communication from their soul directly to the One that sent it into their body the second they were born.

Why was that important? Because spiritual healing is vital in healing what other humans do to us. It is vital when a health issue or natural disaster causes PTSD along with everything else. If they understand what PTSD is, then they will go for help. When they understand it, they go for mental health help and the healing begins. Add in spiritual help and there is greater healing.

The National Center for PTSD even approves it! Are you going to go if you think it is all about what the zealots, haters, and corrupters of Christianity have delivered? I wouldn't. The thing is, it doesn't matter what you believe spiritually because the power is in feeding your soul. 

If you believe in God as a Christian, then please understand that the people with the loudest voices do not speak for the rest of us! If you don't believe as a Christian, then please still seek spiritual healing from people of groups who believe as you do. PTSD isn't a Christian thing. It's a survivor thing! 


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Gun maker used child and Bible to sell guns!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 7, 2022

I don't have time to read much that does not involve #PTSD but considering all these mass murders are creating more survivors with PTSD, I've been reading these reports more lately.

I was sent a link to a Tweet about a gunmaker using a child and a Bible passage to sell guns. I totally lost my mind!


Gun-Maker Posted Chilling Ad Of Child Cradling Firearm Before Uvalde Tragedy

Huffington Post
Mary Papenfuss
May 27, 2022

Daniel Defense posted a Twitter ad with a young boy cradling a gun like the one used in the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The Georgia gun company that manufactures the AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle used in the horrific attack at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, posted a disturbing Twitter ad featuring a young boy holding a similar type of weapon.

The ad by the Daniel Defense gun company, one of the largest private gun-makers in America, featured a child holding a huge scoped firearm in his lap with an ammunition clip in front of him. An adult’s hand with a finger pointing at the boy appeared in the foreground.
read more here

Evidently, it was not well received considering he blocked people from seeing it after 19 children and 2 teachers were slaughtered.

Daniel Defense quickly blocked the public from its Twitter account after the mass shooting on Tuesday, and the ad was reportedly pulled. It can still be seen on screenshots and archives captured by The Wayback Machine.

I have a Bible passage too! How about Matthew 7:15-20 for starters?

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

The fruits of these people are rotted to their core! Here is the rest of the passage so you can see what they decided to leave out in order to support their wickedness.

The Value of a Good Name
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
2 The rich and the poor have this in common,
The Lord is the maker of them all.
3 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself,
But the simple pass on and are punished.
4 By humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches and honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards his soul will be far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
7 The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender.
8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow,
And the rod of his anger will fail.
9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.
10 Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave;
Yes, strife and reproach will cease.
11 He who loves purity of heart
And has grace on his lips,
The king will be his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge," But He overthrows the words of the faithless.
13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be slain in the streets!”
14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit;
He who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches,
And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Are You A Stranger Angel?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 19, 2022

Part three of The Lost Son, Stranger Angels
2022 began with a new mission for Chris and his friends. In the process of writing a new book, Chris wanted to address the traumas that happened when some of his friends were young to give hope to others living with abusive parents and bullies. He also had to find closure for the abuse he survived in LA.

Dreams were haunting him and grew stronger. He kept his promise to go into therapy for PTSD and finally had to admit the thing he had been hiding all along.

From Stranger Angels

“Remember, we didn’t want to talk about anything outside the house. Anyway, once they got her into bed, we were sitting in the kitchen and they were talking about how they rationalized it by things that happened to them. How they just forced themselves to get over.” Bill saw the shocked look on the others. “Don’t look at me like that. All of you did the same thing. You thought just like I did, that you’d just get over it and you waited.”

Chris said, “I know I did and it just got worse. I have to tell you that if I knew how many others had PTSD just from living, and not just from combat, I would have gone into therapy a long time ago. I had no way to know it was too often part of surviving. I’m just wondering why your Dad didn’t connect what happened to Brenda to what happened in Vietnam?”

“Don’t get me wrong but, the only way I can explain it is, since he understood so little about it, it was almost like a contest in his mind. He got over it the first time, the second time and the third time. He couldn’t just get over it the fourth time. It was too much. God must have agreed because after he got wounded, the docs discharged him and sent him home. The thing is, he said his wounds weren’t bad enough to be discharged. He just knew somehow, they knew he needed to get out.” 
“So he thought Brenda should get over it too?”

“Pretty much.” Bill took a swig of beer. “See the thing is, no one they knew talked about any of this either. When we went to Afghanistan and Iraq, that was all anyone was talking about back home, but we didn’t talk to each other about it. I didn’t talk to David and he sure as hell wasn’t gonna tell me since he was the strongest and bravest of all of us.” He looked at David and he was nodding his head agreeing. “Folks back home pretended that PTSD and suicides only happened to our generation and only because of war. Everyone else was being ignored, like veterans like my Dad. Even he didn’t connect Vietnam to PTSD until I was diagnosed and I was explaining it to him.” 
“I know I tried to pass it off too. Like I’d just get over it. I saw what you and David went through and that you guys had it a lot worse than I did. Now I get it. I turned it into a contest too.”

David agreed, “It’s easy to do. I did it too but it was a contest I didn’t want to win. Maybe that’s why I was fighting a losing battle until I met Mandy. I don’t know but I do know, she didn’t just save my life, she gave me a reason to live.”

Greer nodded her head, “So did I. I was a tough Black MP. Admitting I needed help was the last thing I was ready to do. The stupid thing was, I had no problem asking for backup when I needed it doing my job. I had no problem trusting the other MPs with watching my back but I had a huge problem trusting them with what was going on with me. The crazy thing was, until a few months ago when we got all that publicity, I had no idea how many others I served with were going through the same thing and thinking the same way I did. Like, we could trust them with our lives but couldn’t bring ourselves to trust them with our thoughts and struggles.”
The purpose of this series is to let you know you are not stuck suffering with PTSD and give you a way to fuller, happier life.

Studies show that suicide risk is higher in persons with PTSD. Some studies link suicide risk in those with PTSD to distressing trauma memories, anger, and poor control of impulses. Further, suicide risk is higher for those with PTSD who have certain styles of coping with stress, such as not expressing feelings. (PTSD VA)

The other thing I hope you take away from these books is the fact that you are human and while it may seem as if no one will understand what you're going through, ask the other 15 million people in the country joining the PTSD club every year that no one wants to be a member of. They may not understand what combat did to you, but they sure as hell understand what living and surviving did to them.

If you don't try to fight PTSD alone, then you learn how vital it is to have help to heal. You also find the need to help others heal too and you become a Stranger Angel!

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

When the church has no room for you

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 15, 2021

Almost 40 years ago, I started researching PTSD and in all these years, 90% of the people I helped, do not attend church. They felt as if there was no church that had a place for them. They just never fit in with what the leader preached, but did not practice. They didn't fit in with what the parishioners claimed when they saw how they actually acted. More had other reasons. Some were raised in a certain faith, but it was not practiced at home. Others were not raised to worship in a place, but raised to be "good people" with compassion and kindness, the same way Jesus taught.
Some knew that God still had room for them, even if they simply lived their lives worshiping Him the same way Jesus did. He did not attend "church" but prayed outside most of the time. He was actually against what was being done in the name of God, while it always involved money.
Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]”

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

They charged money for everything and if you didn't have any, you got nothing from them. Jesus never charged anyone for anything but paid for everything people needed from God with His Own Life!

Early Christians did not attend church, but prayed at home, or in small groups among their friends. They passed on hope, healing, God's mercy and love for them freely!

Not all houses of worship are like the robbers, and that is wonderful. Not all religious leaders are saying, "Praise God but write the check to them." Not all of them are living in mansions while people go homeless and hungry. Not all of them are involved with seeking political power over prayer. Not all of the people attending church are showing up just to be seen and then doing what they want the rest of the week.

No need to wonder why so many have left organized religion and prefer to be called spiritual instead of religious.


What's your religion? In US, a common reply now is "None"
Associated Press
By LUIS ANDRES HENAO, KWASI GYAMFI ASIEDU and DAVID CRARY
December 14, 2021
Through high school and college, he "drifted away" from Christian beliefs and in his 30s began a serious, long-lasting journey into spirituality while in rehab to curb his alcoholism.

"Spirituality is a soul-based journey into the heart, surrendering one's ego will to a higher will." he said. "We're looking for our own answers, beyond the programming we received growing up."

'I want to inspire people': Woman dedicates 10 years to copy the entire Bible by hand His path has been rough at times – the death of his wife from a fast-moving cancer, financial troubles leading to the loss of his house – but he says his spiritual practice has replaced his anxieties with a "gentle joy" and a desire to help others.

He previously worked as a landscape designer and real estate appraiser, and now runs a school teaching qigong, a practice that evolved from China combining slow, relaxed movement with breathing exercises and meditation.

"As a kid, I used to think of God up on a throne, with a white beard, passing judgment, but that has totally changed," Marston said. "My higher power is the universe... It's always there for me, if I can get out of my ego's way."

This is why I wrote The Lost Son series on Amazon. 

We live in a time of growing traumas and survivors need help to begin to heal. Experts have proven the need for mind-body-spiritual approaches to healing. How can they turn to spiritual healing when they feel there is no place for them?

Most people focus on veterans when they hear the term PTSD and then dismiss others suffering after surviving other events. They turn it into a contest to see who has the worst story of survival instead of listening to those who have the best stories of inspiration. It is almost as if having a happy, successful life afterwards is something we made up. I've heard it said time and time again, if a person is happy, then they made up the suffering.

I refuse to be ashamed of surviving over 10 events and still having a strong relationship with God, even though I have become a churchless child of His. I refuse to get into a contest with churchgoers because they are satisfied with their house to worship in when I prefer my own house.

There is a place for all of us with God. It is up to us how we live our lives and how we choose our own beliefs to live by. The Lost Son is about healing through faith and the actions of others to deliver the miracles out of God's Hands into our lives.


If you are still unsure of how God does understand trauma, all you need to wonder is, "Did Jesus Experience Trauma?" Experts Say ‘Yes’
Under the weight of the sins of the world, Jesus' body began to show signs of acute stress and trauma even before the physical torment leading to the crucifixion, and the crucifixion itself took place. In a moment of overwhelming love for us, dedication to his Father’s will, and desperation to be released from the agony to come, Jesus suffered in his mind, body, and spirit as he knelt in the garden. And then, he surrendered himself to the men who would torture, humiliate, and murder him.

“From a neurobiological perspective, we know that Jesus experienced pain so intense and overwhelming that by any human standards would likely mean he became traumatized,” says author and therapist Aundi Kolber.

So yes, He does. He doesn't send all the bad  stuff into our lives. People do. The weather does. Fires do. Wars do. Evil people doing evil things do. If you believe in God then you need to admit that the other guy is just as real. We've all seen what he does but he gets most of the attention making headline across the world. The Lost Son is an attempt to get people to see it is time to give credit where credit is due and give God as much publicity as Satan gets. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Want to believe in miracles again?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 27, 2021

We walk away from what we survive one of two ways. Either God did it to us, or God saved us. It is human nature to want to know why something happened to us. I know I did everytime I faced death. People like me are nothing worth reporting on, even though reporters always manage to cover the events that cause our lives to change. They show up to report on crimes, accidents, along with anything else that is traumatic and violent. Then they are gone while we continue to rewrite the story of our own lives.

According to the National Center for PTSD, there are about 15 million of us every year yet we are forgotten about. With all we survive, we lose so much afterwards that it is hard to find a reason we did. There were times when I didn't want to. Like the main character in my 4th book, The Lost Son, God had other plans for me too!
 


From The Lost Son

The scars on his body were reminders of what he survived but the scars in his soul were reminders of why he didn’t want to anymore.


Chris Papadopoulos was tired of waiting for his life to get better while he grew more bitter. Tired of paying the price for covering suffering while working as a report for an LA newspaper. Tired of the seven years he survived the bomb blast that ripped through his body while covering the war in Afghanistan. Tired of watching all he had erode like the fire escape from his window. 


He lost everything. His job, the only one that gave him purpose in life was over and he was writing greeting card messages. The condo in LA with his office covered with awards, was no longer his and he was living in a studio apartment back in Salem Massachusetts. His marriage ended when his ex-wife tried to kill him and then stalked him. All his friends were out of his life except his favorite bartender at a local bar.


Seven years was long enough. He sat on his bed with a gun in his hand while a war between hope and despair kept him from lifting the gun to his head. He gave up and went to the bar figuring that if he got drunk enough, he wouldn’t have to think about anything much longer.


Chris thought everyone he knew burned down the bridges between them and him. He couldn’t see he was the one with all the matches and his friends were trying to find the firehose. He was right about one thing. Seven years was too long for him to be suffering instead of healing, but God had other plans for him. That night, Chris was sent on a mission to save himself and millions of others when he discovered a secretive society changing the world one soul at a time.


Chris had been a "good guy" most of his life. He welcomed a new family to Salem when he was in the 6th grade. Bill Gibson became his best friend. Up until they were planing their futures as adults, they did everything together. Chris wanted to be a reporter so he could travel and let people know what was going on in the world. 


Bill wanted to join the Army, like his Dad did during Vietnam, and his grandfather, and his great grandfather. They all served willingly no matter how they were treated by some because they were black. Bill was half black and half white but he never saw people by the color of their skin. He always saw them by what was in their souls.


By the time September 11th happened, Bill and Chris were established in their new lives. Chris was a reporter for an LA newspaper and Bill was stationed at Fort Drum. Bill's sister Brenda ended up marrying Chris because she knew his job would have his traveling most of the time. She could do what she wanted, whenever she wanted to do it. Chris was back in Salem for his mother's funeral when the planes hit the towers but Brenda had another excuse to make his go by himself. Chris drove to New York as the only reporter close enough for the newspaper to get there with all planes grounded.


When Bill was deployed to Afghanistan, Chris had enough clout to get assigned to covering the war so he could watch over Bill. He became very close to Bill's buddy, David. They spent as much time as possible together like brothers.


September 13th 2012, a bomb blew up and Chris was torn up by shrapnel. Bill and David saw it happen. They saved his life until the medics took him away. That was the last time they saw him until seven years later when they walked into the bar and back into Chris's life. 


If you want to believe in miracles again, this may be what you need to open your eyes to how miracles happen all around you.


Keep checking back for more news about when you can read it.






Wednesday, September 1, 2021

you served for a reason

What Does God Look Like?
PTSD Patrol
By Kathie Costos
September 1, 2021

Today on ptsdpatrol.com I wrote something I would like you to read if you are struggling with the way the war in Afghanistan ended.

Set aside the politics and decisions leaders made. The facts will all come out but you are not responsible for what they decided to do. You are only responsible for what you decided to do, and that was risk your life for the sake of those you served with, for our country, and to help a many Afghan people as possible. The rest is, as they say, "above your pay grade."

I know what it is like to struggle with not being able to save all the ones you wanted to. No, I didn't serve but for almost 4 decades I struggled with not being able to save all veterans that my heart was ripped out and I had to walk away for a while. Then I was reminded that God, with all His power, and Jesus, could not save everyone. The thing is, They did not give up on those they could save. 

Please read the following and then go to the link for the rest so that you will see that you served for a reason.


What color is God? What color eyes does God have? What color is God’s hair? What size is God? When you think about the image of God, what does God look like to you?
God has plans for all of us. Some of us do not follow where our soul leads us and they remain unhappy. Others, always seem to know exactly what they are supposed to do with their lives and they are happy. Right now I am thinking about all those who served in Afghanistan for almost 20 years. They are struggling with the outcome and wondering what all their sacrifice was for if the country returned to Taliban control, just as it was 20 years ago.

The thing is, it is not the same as it was because military men and women gave them a chance to change. Some rejected it. Others had longed for it and did everything they could to make the lives of others better. Afghanistan will never be what it was because of what all of you did for their sake.

Each one of you, risked your life for those you served with and volunteered to join the military knowing all the hardships you’d have to endure along with all the risks to your life. That desire came from your soul and God equipped your soul to be able to do it, as well as putting into place all you need to heal from all of it.
read more here

Sunday, March 28, 2021

People who do not fit in are the ones who change the world

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
March 28, 2021

I don't fit in anywhere. I never did. When I was young, it didn't matter to me at all. I just wanted to be myself. When I got older, I wanted to fit in but I still wanted to be me. When I got a lot older, I didn't care if I fit in again. That is not always a bad thing. 

People who do not fit in are the ones who change the world. If everyone thought the same, settled for the way things were, then nothing would ever change. They are the creators of change. The dreamers, poets and writers, artist, musicians, scientists and misfits create things that were never done before.

If you have PTSD, then you may not really fit in with people who never survived anything like you did. It is OK. You do fit in with others who are trying to heal, but you can also do something different because you know things have to change to make lives better.

Today is Palm Sunday for most Christians, but not Greeks like me. It is the day Jesus road in on the donkey and the people shouted "hosanna" as he went by them. In other words, they wanted this One who did not "fit in" to save them. Jesus did not fit in with the other Hebrews and came to change the world. It is why today the featured video is Sanctus Real, Forgiven.

Part of the lyrics is about not fitting in. 
And I don't have to carry the weight of who I've been
'Cause I'm forgiven
When I don't fit in
And I don't feel like I belong anywhere
When I don't measure up to much in this life
Oh, I'm a treasure in the arms of Christ
'Cause I'm forgiven

The rest of the world may tell you that you should hold onto anger and blaming others. It tells you to hate those who hurt you or didn't care what happened to you. The world tells you a lot of things but deep inside, it is destroying you. It is taking room in your soul where goodness belongs. Where hope should be and where dreams begin. Don't let all that negative stuff take up that much room in you.

Isn't it time to be "you" with all your flaws and gifts? Isn't it time for you to do more than settle for what "is" because people are telling you that you should, or far worse, tell you to just get over it? Be a misfit and then show others how to be happier being them!


Remember, it is your life...get in and drive it! 
#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife from #PTSD 

As I said, not fitting in, is not always a bad thing.
read more here

Friday, December 25, 2020

Birth in the manger and the crucifixion on the Cross

PTSD Patrol

Kathie Costos

December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas! While it seems there isn't much to be merry about this year, there is if you look for it.

Maybe you didn't get what you wanted, or you were not able to get what someone else wanted. Maybe you have so many worries that feeling as if you are supposed to be celebrating, seems like torture. How do you celebrate Christmas when it feels like just when you thought this year couldn't get any worse....it did?

HOPE! That is what Christmas is supposed to be all about. Listen to the Christmas songs we all grew up with. (Not the funny ones I've been putting up the last few days.) Did you notice that most of them are about hope?

Between the Birth in the manger and the crucifixion on the Cross, Jesus lived a life of awesomeness! We read all about His miracles, but we tend to forget how much He suffered.

He knew what it was like to be hungry.

He knew what it was like to be lonely.

He knew what it was like to feel abandoned.

He knew what it was like to be betrayed.

He knew what it was like to grieve so much He wept.

He knew what it was like to do the right things for the right reasons and be hated for them.

He knew what it was like to be called a liar.

Yet with even more evidence of His suffering, He lived His life serving others, preaching of God's love, performing miracles, giving hope to those who had forgotten what hope in their hearts felt like, and proving to them they were loved!

One of the greatest gifts He gave was teaching them the importance of forgiving.  It was not for the sake of those who hurt Him, or those who hurt you, but more about giving yourself a gift.

Jesus didn't let what others did to Him, stop Him from being true to what He knew was right. He didn't hate those He was willing to die for, even after they betrayed them. He asked His Father to forgive them, because they had no idea what they were doing.

If we hang onto those who hurt us, the wrong done to us, then we rob ourselves of all the good that could replace what is harmful to us. Forgive others and take away the power they retain in your heart. They do don't deserved to remain there. 

Understand that if you are doing the right thing, then it is their problem, not yours. If you did the wrong thing to them, apologize to them. If they accept it, then all is well. If they do not, then it is again their problem. 

If you are having a hard time forgiving, then pray for the strength to do it, because Jesus knows what it is like to be you!

Cross posted from PTSD Patrol


And if you are struggling with PTSD because you did the right thing...know that it is not God's judgement.

Friday, May 22, 2020

"...but you will not look for what you do not know is there."

Do not sit in despair, heal instead


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 22, 2020

When you are suffering, you feel as if the earth is crushing you. Hope has been eroded away by the constant tide of pain returning instead of the relief you searched for.

Take comfort in knowing, it is not as if you do not deserve help. You have just been looking in the wrong places.


4 I sat there in despair, my spirit draining away, my heart heavy, like lead.
5 I remembered the old days, went over all you've done, pondered the ways you've worked,
6 Stretched out my hands to you, as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain.
7 Hurry with your answer, God! I'm nearly at the end of my rope. Don't turn away; don't ignore me! That would be certain death.
8 If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I'll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I'm all ears, all eyes before you.
9 Save me from my enemies, God - you're my only hope!
10 Teach me how to live to please you, because you're my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.
11 Keep up your reputation, God - give me life! In your justice, get me out of this trouble!
Psalm 143:4-11

You may find what you are looking for,
Look and you will find it - what is unsought will go undetected.

but you will not look for what you do not know is there.

You know you do not want to suffer anymore. If the only thing you are looking for is a way to end it, that is all you will find. Yet if you look for a way to live a better life, you will find it and be encouraged to find the next thing that will help you achieve all you hope to be.

Last night I called a veteran Marine I had worked with for a long time. The conversation started out with how repulsive suicide awareness is. As usual, I was sick to my stomach about what has been accepted as worthy of support because that is all people know. What they do not know, is much like how the rest of our conversation went.

He told me about how he has passed on all that he learned from me and saved lives. They turned around and passed it on to others, and save lives. That is how it is supposed to work!

My friend sought my help when he was ready. I had to have patience until he was ready. Although many times I wanted to smack him on the back of the head to make him listen, I had to wait. I let him know I was there simply by showing up.

His best friend was also suffering. I did not have a chance to help him and to this day I wish he had given me a chance to help him. He took his own life, which devastated my Marine friend. It took a while for him to trust me enough to talk, even longer for him to listen to me but he did.

I restored hope for him, cleared the crap he thought out of his mind and educated him on PTSD basics that he had never heard before. No one had ever told him that he had the power to heal already within him.

Well, a lot of work later, he did everything he could do for himself, invested the time, spent the energy, and took back his power from PTSD. Then he passed on the message to others.

He also rediscovered what Faith is supposed to be like. That God did not do it to him as some sort of punishment. He forgave himself for what he felt he did wrong. Forgave others for wrong they did to him. And then he accepted the healing power God had already given him within the same soul that caused him to be able to risk his life in the Marines.

Saving lives, doing whatever veterans could, came with the package, and so did the power to heal from what that would do to them.

If you are looking for a way out of despair, time to start looking in different places, beginning with what is already inside of you...your soul.
Sunday morning empowerment zone features Marine veteran filmed yesterday at the Orlando Nam Knights bikeweek party. His simple message is empowerment! Take control of your life from this moment on. It's up to you where you go from here!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence

Point Man turning lost into found and healed


PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 16, 2020


From Point Man's website
Since 1984, when Seattle Police Officer and Vietnam Veteran Bill Landreth noticed he was arresting the same people each night, he discovered most were Vietnam vets like himself that just never seemed to have quite made it home. He began to meet with them in coffee shops and on a regular basis for fellowship and prayer. Soon, Point Man Ministries was conceived and became a staple of the Seattle area. Bills untimely death soon after put the future of Point Man in jeopardy.

However, Chuck Dean, publisher of a Veterans self help newspaper, Reveille, had a vision for the ministry and developed it into a system of small groups across the USA for the purpose of mutual support and fellowship. These groups are known as Outposts. Worldwide there are hundreds of Outposts and Homefront groups serving the families of veterans.

PMIM is run by veterans from all conflicts, nationalities and backgrounds. Although, the primary focus of Point Man has always been to offer spiritual healing from PTSD, Point Man today is involved in group meetings, publishing, hospital visits, conferences, supplying speakers for churches and veteran groups, welcome home projects and community support. Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence. All services offered by Point Man are free of charge.

From Wounded Times September 21, 2007
The leader of the Newark post, Russ Clark, is a retired Marine who fought in Vietnam. Clark was a Methodist minister for 25 years before leaving the pastorate due to life upheaval brought on by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He knows firsthand the devastation PTSD can bring into the lives of veterans and their families.

“I lost a family. I lost a ministry. Point Man is now my calling,” Clark explained. He said helping other veterans has brought him great healing. He encourages other veterans to reach out to those with similar experiences.

read it here

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Finding miracles in Wounded Times

Inspirational reminders of miracles


PTSD Patrol
Stories from Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2020

With all the bad news in this country because of COVID-19, it is easy to become depressed. Social media has been spreading the bad news, division along with outright lies. Hopelessness follows.

But within the pages of friends sharing thoughts, there are messages of hope, love, humor, inspiration and miracles. Hope is fueled.

I take more comfort knowing there are people out there trying to make our days better than they would have been, than those constantly focusing on the negative.

A couple of days ago, I started searching the web for stories on miracles for a book I was planning on writing. In all honesty, I was searching to help my own mood as well.

Then it dawned on me that out of over 32,000 posts on Wounded Times, there is a treasure trove of miracles intended to fuel hope.

I opted to drop the book idea and decided to put the posts up here until I run out of them. Judging by the ones already discovered, that should take a long time to happen.
read it here

Here is the first one that just went up on PTSD Patrol
For those I love I will sacrifice

PTSD Patrol
Story from Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2020

One of the first post I put up on my views of faith, was in September 2007. To lay down his life for the sake of his friends posted September 26, 2007. Almost 900 people read it and shared it, plus 1,200+ subscribers sent it along with 90 followers. 

Do you think God abandoned you still? Come on and admit that while you were in the center of the trauma, you either felt the hand of God on your shoulder, or more often, never felt further from Him. In natural disasters, we pray to God to protect us. Yet when it's over we wonder why He didn't make the hurricane hit someplace else or why the tornadoes came and destroyed what we had while leaving the neighbors house untouched. We wonder why He heals some people while the people we love suffer. It is human nature to wonder, search for answers and try to understand.

In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.

They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.

Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them.


And you can find the miracle that came afterwards....
April 18, 2008 I wrote the post PTSD Is Not God's Judgement to go along with the video. The video was put back up in 2015.
There is suddenly a lot of talk about "moral injury" and combat PTSD. It is survivor's guilt adding to what is known as PTSD but unlike other causes of PTSD, this one is harder to heal from. The good news is, you were not judged by God but He has put what you need to heal already in your soul. It is our job to connect you to it again. Contact Point Man International Ministries to show you the way.

Monday, May 4, 2020

"A Few Good Angels" and other miracles

Collection of miracles


Veterans Voice: Vietnam vet says divine intervention spared him
Providence Journal
By Mary K. Talbot, Special to The Journal
Posted May 3, 2020

Retired Sgt. Mike Montigny, 74
Seven years ago, he had just finished a round of golf. His partners on the course included old friends and some new acquaintances. One guest noticed the well-worn ring from Vietnam still on sitting on Montigny’s finger and with encouragement, Montigny shared his story with that newcomer, Ed Iannuccilli, former CEO of Rhode Island Hospital.

Later Iannuccilli would observe, “Churches are made out of wood, brick mortar and stone. Priests are human beings just like you and I. What happened to you is something spiritual that we can’t explain. Angels appear in all shapes and forms.”

Stories from Vietnam started flooding Montigny’s memory bank and Iannuccilli inspired him to begin chronicling those experiences. Soon the stories became chapters which turned into an inspirational book, “A Few Good Angels,” that Montigny published in 2016.

Mike Montigny left for Vietnam in 1965 and he attributes his unlikely return journey as one made possible only with divine interventions. Montigny was a survivor. Defying all predictions he made it “to hell and back” as a machine gunner for the U.S. Marines and lived to share his story.


Jason F. Wright: What you're about to read is a miracle or an odds-smashing coincidence
Northern Virginia Daily
Jason Wright
May 2, 2020
I asked Tyson what he learned from this memorable and moving moment on a morning train. “This was a real reminder to me of how personal and tangible God’s love is for each of us,” he said. “God is so aware of our circumstances. She may have been a stranger, but in reality, she was actually my sister. I know God works through His children, and what a cool chance it was for me to be an instrument for Him.”


'Absolute miracle': NYC surgeon, 74, beats 'severe form' of coronavirus with help of 3 doctor sons
FOX
Celeb Parke
May 1, 2020
Dr. Manuel Bulauitan, 74, is thanking everyone involved, especially his three sons, who are all doctors. They rushed to his side after their family noticed on FaceTime in mid-March that Bulauitan was sick.
Dr. Manuel C Bulauitan recovering on the medical floor after downgrading from the ICU. (Courtesy of Philippe Bulauitan)
"I am grateful that I'm here and my deepest thanks to all the medical professionals – from attending doctors and nurses – [they] are deep in my heart," Bulauitan told Fox News over the phone. "They tell me it's a miracle I survived."


Thursday, April 23, 2020

There is a passage out of darkness with PTSD and pandemic

Every dark passage


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 23, 2020
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46
Take comfort in knowing that every dark passage ends in light, otherwise it would be called a dead end instead of a passage. There is a way to get to the other side of whatever darkness surrounds you, but you will not reach it if you remain standing still.
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28
Take comfort in knowing that this crisis will not last forever. As with all things, this time will pass and the stress will go away. Even though some of the memories may linger, you have the power over what you do with those dark memories, so you can make room to treasure the good ones.

Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone if you are dealing with PTSD on top of this pandemic. There are about 8 million other Americans with PTSD. In other words, 8 million other survivors learning how to live the rest of their lives after surviving whatever caused them to be hit by PTSD.

Being afraid to admit you are afraid leaves you stuck in the darkness. No one will know you need comforting, so they will not try to ease your fears. Human nature has most people programmed to respond to the needs of others. We see that today as more and more people are stepping up to, not just help save lives, but to help those who are on the front lines in need of help too!

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

Some will use a crisis for their own sake, but there are more trying to alleviate the burdens others carry. Right now, that is something that you can do just by being able to reach out for help, receive it and then, reach back out again to help others.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8

You can change your life and help others find the light at the end of the passage. Imagine what their life will be like when you help them see they are not stuck in a dead end.

Friday, April 3, 2020

"...persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed"

"Commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God"


In times of trouble such as these, it can be hard to find hope. It is so much easier to find misery. The thing is, hope surrounds us even though we are reluctant to see it.

I love to see reports of regular people rising above their own pain, fears and concerns, to take care of total strangers. They exemplify what true heroes are.

We are called to rise above our circumstances at the moment because we know we may be "...persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" because we are not alone in any of these times of trouble.


2 Corinthians 4 New International Version (NIV)
Present Weakness and Resurrection Life

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of  faith, we also believe and therefore speak,

14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.

15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.